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U-FUTuRES Showcase

U-FUTuRES: University of Florida Unites Teachers to Reform Education in Science


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U-FUTuRES is transforming middle school science teachers' practices in twelve partnering school districts by collaboratively implementing a learning-goals-driven, national standards-aligned, inquiry-oriented science curriculum. Through our project activities we have prepared science teachers to become highly-trained and qualified Science Teacher Leaders, who lead district-level middle school science professional learning communities devoted to the continuous study of science teaching practices and student learning. Through their implementation of a reform-based science curriculum, students are actively engaged with scientific phenomena, disciplinary core ideas, scientific and engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts. Project activities include a fully-funded, job-embedded graduate degree program (Science Teacher Leadership Institute -- STLI), district support and collaboration, monthly cadre meetings, teacher-led professional learning communities, and a teacher transformation series dedicated to increasing science content knowledge across partnering districts.

The STLI was co-facilitated by the university's College of Education and STEM partners from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The 2-year institute included 9 hours of graduate-level science content courses, science-specific pedagogy, leadership courses, and complementary professional development activities that offered support to teachers in their formal courses and curriculum enactment. The institute courses were developed collaboratively by teams of experienced university instructors who all participated in project-sponsored training in effective science instruction as well as the design framework of the curriculum to ensure alignment and coherence in the content and practices within and across courses. To date, thirty-five science teacher leaders have graduated from the U-FUTuRES/STLI with a MAE in science and environmental education.